Allscripts iPad app waves 'Wand' over EHR functionality

By Mike Miliard
11:18 AM

Allscripts on Thursday announced the release of Wand, an iPad application that offers its EHR users mobile access to the most commonly used functions of its Allscripts Professional and Enterprise technologies.

The goal, says Stanley Crane, chief innovation officer for Allscripts, is to offer easy, on-the-go access to the core EHR capabilities physicians need most. The marching orders for the app's design, he says, were "let's focus on the classic, typical ordinary things that physicians do every day."
In developing Wand's interface, Allscripts developers and user experience designers made use of Human Performance Modeling – a technique used by NASA to predicts and improves pilot performance, officials say.
Allscripts touts Wand's ability to let clinicians review a chart quickly before entering the exam room, input real-time information, such as vitals and medications, and access EHR information after-hours.

[See also: 11 stages of the iPad's history in healthcare.]

The launch comes on the heels of a recent poll by the Physicians Consulting Network found that more than a quarter (27 percent) of physicians own an iPad or similar device – a rate that's five times higher than the general population.

Developers of the Wand say its graphical interface helps clinicians to:

  • view a timeline of key patient information such as lab results, medications, vitals, and more;
  • review appointment lists and current patient status;
  • retrieve patient data quickly, with drill-down access to details;
  • e-prescribe with electronic transmission to pharmacies; and
  • resolve tasks and respond to messages with a swipe of the screen

Lisa Young, MD, a physician with Pediatric Clinic LLC in Auburn, Ala., notes how the app offeres a view of "patients lab trends that are easy to pull up, and look elegant," adding that "the quick view of immunizations is perfect for pediatrics."

As for security, Crane says, "when you install Wand, if you are a pro EHR customer, we automatically create an SSL certificate and install it on your software. We can do this automatically behind the scenes."

In addition, he says, no patient data is stored on the iPad itself: "When you hit the home button, there is nothing there."

[See also: 10 simple ways to secure and optimize your iPad.]

Moreover, Allscripts submitted its code and protocols to two security scans by third-party companies. "Wand is as secure, as safe, as any other product Allscripts has ever had," Crane says.

Wand is available for users of Allscripts Professional and Enterprise electronic health records, and users can download the app from iTunes before installing the necessary server components from Allscripts. No on-site training is required, says Crane.

As more and more physicians flock to mobile devices, he adds, it's important to offer a clinician experience that's commensurate with the iPad's simple and intuitive design. EHRs themselves may be outfitted with hundreds of capabilities mandated by meaningful use – some of which the physician may never even use.

[See also: Docs use iPad to check on patient status, treatment.]

But with Wand, Crane says, Allscripts hopes to simplify things, distilling functionality down to the "core mission: What is the healthcare provider trying to do in this moment in time, and what can we do to help them to get their job done?"